Original Post by David Guthrie
BYOD is often espoused as a victory for the user, a story of empowerment for the newly flexible, tech-savvy workforce. It speaks to catering to employee preference and enabling real choice.
That’s the user end of the story. On the business end, BYOD can cause challenges for the often-besieged IT department. Budgets are shrinking and infrastructures and software deployments are increasingly being outsourced to vendors. Yet in spite of it all, IT is the one responsible for enabling BYOD while still maintaining data security and user satisfaction across the business.
“Do more with less” is the law of the land, and trying to manage security and support for any possible device or application rather than the corporate-sanctioned ones is an impossible endeavor.
The Challenges of BYOD/BYOA
In an era of SaaS solutions that can be instantly demoed and deployed, often without touching the typical restrictions placed on a network by IT, it’s no surprise that individuals and departments are circumventing IT and using their own cloud applications at work. They’re reveling in the freedom of choice that SaaS and the cloud have presented them with. Instead of typical criticisms of IT (IT is too slow, it takes too long to gets things approved, IT doesn’t really understand what my team needs), employees are taking matters into their own virtual hands.
It’s worth reiterating that both BYOD and Bring Your Own Application (BYOA) are undisputed wins for the user. But those wins come at the expense of posing significant challenges and dangers to the efficiency of your organization, particularly when it comes to enabling collaboration.
Collaboration Suffers in Inconsistent Environments
The unfortunate reality of the situation is that collaboration can suffer within an organization where BYOD and BYOA are the rules of the day. And they are increasingly the rule, rather than the exception: according to a survey conducted by Frost & Sullivan division Stratecast, over 80% of respondents confessed to using non-approved SaaS applications in the workplace.
Today’s business collaboration experience is exponentially more complex than it has ever been. The intricacies of our networks, the mission-critical security and redundancy needs and the need to support multiple endpoints and device types make providing seamless, reliable and cost-effective collaboration solutions a task that only a few companies in the world can manage.
And that’s just the technology side. Collaboration is much more than just cloud apps and conference calls—it’s a cultural initiative and business process that impacts every level and department within an organization in different and profound ways.
Introduce into that mix unsanctioned and unsupported collaboration tools that individual departments or line of business owners have procured on their own, and collaboration becomes essentially impossible. You lose interoperability. Your tools—and therefore your teams—can’t speak to one another, building barriers to the collaboration process rather than tearing them down. Meetings become an exercise in frustration, leading to wasted time and reduced productivity.
And IT is the one left with the impossible task of managing quality, security and support.
Empowering your employees with choice is an inevitability. Declaring war on user choice is not a sustainable strategy. However, collaboration—both the technology and the processes—demands consistency.
Can IT provide solutions that are easy and intuitive enough that users will choose them on their own?
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